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How to Understand the Aluminum Alloy Numbering System?

8   |   Published by VMT at Aug 18 2021

Many customers are often troubled by aluminum models when choosing aluminum materials. In fact, aluminum is a light but strong metal. In addition to durability and physical weight, aluminum is also corrosion-resistant due to its surface coverage, with a strong oxide film. This makes it an excellent choice for applications in the automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries.


Because aluminum easily forms compounds with other chemical elements, a large number of aluminum alloys have been developed over the years. In order to improve the lack of aluminum, these elements (such as magnesium, silicon, zinc or copper) are fully mixed with aluminum when the metal is melted. You must add chemical elements to pure aluminum. These elements can improve the strength, density, processability, conductivity, etc. of aluminum.



To prevent confusion, aluminum alloys will be named and classified according to their composition and tempering conditions according to the aluminum alloy numbering system. These systems can help designers and engineers familiarize themselves with various alloys, their characteristics and common applications. This helps the product team choose the correct aluminum alloy material and manufacturing method for a particular part.





Aluminum alloy serial number



Since the ANSI American National Standards Institute (AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS INSTITUTE: ANSI) established the standardization work in 1918, people from all walks of life have responded to the standardization work. In 1954, the American Aluminum Association established a description system for forged alloys. When the system was first implemented, 75 chemical components were listed-today, there are more than 530 active chemical elements registered, and this number continues to grow.



According to the processing method of aluminum alloy, it can be divided into deformed aluminum alloy and cast aluminum alloy. The number of aluminum and aluminum alloys is mainly divided into eight series.



aluminum alloy material




Aluminum alloy model representation method




International grade (using four Arabic numerals, now commonly used):


1XXX means more than 99% pure aluminum series, such as 1050, 1100

2XXX stands for aluminum copper alloy series, such as 2014

3XXX means aluminum-manganese alloy series, such as 3003

4XXX means aluminum-silicon alloy series, such as 4032

5XXX means aluminum-magnesium alloy series, such as 5052

6XXX stands for aluminum-magnesium-silicon alloy series, such as 6061, 6063

7XXX means 7001 and other aluminum-zinc alloy series

8XXX means alloy system other than the above




The first series

Among all series, the 1000 series is the series with the most aluminum content, with a purity of over 99.00%. The 1000 series aluminum plate determines the minimum aluminum content of the series according to the last two Arabic numerals. For example, the last two Arabic numerals of the 1050 series are 50. According to the international model naming principle, the aluminum content must reach 99.5% or more to be a qualified product.



Aluminum has good formability and surface treatment, and its corrosion resistance is the best among aluminum alloys. Its strength is lower, and the higher its purity, the lower its strength.



The commonly used mobile phones are 1050, 1070, 1080, 1085, and 1100, all of which are simple extrusion molding (without bending). Among them, 1050 and 1100 can be chemically sanded, smooth, frosted, and ordinary effects. Some material lines are obvious, and the coloring effect is good; 1080 and 1085 mirror aluminum are commonly used for bright characters and matte effects, and the material lines are not obvious.

The first series of aluminum materials are relatively soft and are mainly used for decorative parts or interior parts.




Second series

The 2000 series aluminum alloy represents 2024, 2A16, and 2A02. The copper content of 2000 series aluminum plates is about 3-5%.



High hardness, but poor corrosion resistance, the highest copper content


The 2000 series aluminum rods belong to aviation aluminum materials, used as structural materials, and are not often used in conventional industries.




The third series

3000 series aluminum alloy mainly represents 3003, 3105, and 3A21. The content is between 1.0-1.5.


3000 series aluminum rods use manganese as the main component, which is a series with better anti-rust function.


It is often used as tanks and construction processing parts for liquid products, construction tools, various lighting parts, and various pressure vessels and pipes for sheet processing. Formability, weldability, and corrosion resistance are all good.




Fourth series

The 4000 series aluminum rods are represented by 4A01, and the 4000 series aluminum plates belong to the series with higher silicon content.



Usually the silicon content is between 4.5-6.0%, the higher the silicon content, the higher the strength.



It belongs to building materials, mechanical parts, forging materials, and welding materials; it has a low melting point and has good corrosion resistance, heat resistance and wear resistance.




Fifth series

The 5000 series aluminum rods belong to the more commonly used alloy aluminum plate series, the main element is magnesium, and the magnesium content is between 3-5%. The 5000 series aluminum alloy represents the 5052, 5005, 5083, and 5A05 series. It can also be called aluminum-magnesium alloy.



Low density, high tensile strength, high elongation


The most commonly used mobile phone is 5052, which is the most representative medium-strength alloy. It has good corrosion resistance, weldability and formability, especially high fatigue strength and good seawater resistance. Often used for products with high strength requirements. , But its coloring effect is not ideal, it is suitable for sandblasting process, not suitable for chemical surface treatment, frosting, etc., mainly used for casting molding, not suitable for extrusion molding.




Sixth series

6000 series aluminum alloy represents 6061, and the main components are magnesium and silicon, so the advantages of 4000 series and 5000 series are concentrated. 6061 is a cold processed aluminum forged product.



Suitable for applications with high requirements for corrosion resistance and oxidation


6061 and 6063 are more commonly used in mobile phones. Among them, 6061 has higher strength than 6063. It can be molded by casting and can be used for casting complex structural parts, and can be used as a buckle, such as a battery cover.




Seventh series

Mainly containing zinc, 7000 series aluminum alloy represents 7075. It also belongs to the aviation series, and belongs to the aluminum-magnesium-zinc-copper alloy.


The heat-treatable alloy is a super hard aluminum alloy with good wear resistance.


Suitable for aviation series, etc.




Eighth series

The more commonly used 8000 series aluminum alloy is 8011, which belongs to other series, and aluminum foil is the most used.





Precautions for forged aluminum series



It is important to pay attention to which aluminum alloys are heat-treatable and which are not heat-treatable. This helps the product team determine the appropriate application for a particular aluminum alloy and protect parts from high temperatures when necessary.


2xxx, 6xxx and 7xxx series alloys are heat-treatable.


The 1xxx, 3xxx and 5xxx series of forged aluminum alloys cannot be heat treated, but can only be hardened.


The 4xxx series contains some heat-treatable alloys, but mainly non-heat-treatable alloys. However, when mixed with other heat-treatable alloys, most 4xxx non-heat-treatable alloys can respond to heat treatment.


In the United States, we mainly use forged aluminum alloy series, but there are other aluminum naming and organization systems, including cast aluminum alloy series. The cast aluminum series number looks similar to the number above. The cast aluminum series uses 3 digits and one decimal number (xxx.x), where the first number (Xxx.x) represents the main alloying element.

Although it is important to be familiar with the aluminum alloy numbering system, it is not enough to remember all aluminum alloy models. In order to ensure that the appropriate aluminum alloy material is selected for your project application, please seek the help of experienced aluminum parts processing and manufacturing partners.




VMT can help you understand the aluminum alloy model series, and customize the machined parts to determine the best aluminum alloy material. Our professional precision aluminum machining parts manufacturer has deep industry knowledge and experience, and we will work hard to make your next project a success. Contact us now to start your aluminum parts processing project.







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